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2014 Student Awards

Excellence in Leadership Award

Anthony Bracco, BS ‘14, is a graduating senior at the NYU Silver School of Social Work with a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies (CAMS). Anthony has served on the Undergraduate Student Government Association for all four years of his undergraduate career, and currently serves as the USGA Co-President. He is also a member of the Student Senate Council (SSC) for the NYU undergraduate student body. Throughout his four years at NYU, he has actively served as a writer for the NYU CAMS Newsletter, volunteered with the Selective Mutism Team at the NYU Langone Child Study Center, and participated as a member of the Distinguished Teaching Award Committee. He also taught a Risk and Resilience Curriculum to ninth and tenth grade students at the Bard Early College High School in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His current field placement is with Community Access, where he furthers his knowledge and experience working with chronically mentally ill populations.

Jennifer Glass, MSW ‘15, is in her second year of the Silver School of Social Work’s extended MSW program. She is currently the president of the Graduate Student Association, a member of the Student Leadership Council, and served as a first-year representative on the GSA for the 2012-2013 academic year. Jennifer holds a B.A. in philosophy from Colgate University, and prior to returning to school to earn her masters degree, worked in the music industry in international marketing and as a singer/songwriter. During her tenure as GSA president, Jennifer co-founded the “Silver Foxes,” a student-run mentor and peer supervision program. She initiated the “Torch Series” to engage various schools at NYU in a multi-disciplinary dialogue around topics such as juvenile justice. During her time at Silver, she has worked hard to encourage her fellow students to find leaders within themselves, and to use their intelligent, educated and compassionate voices to effect positive change at Silver, in their communities and in their chosen fields.

Jessica Lief, MSW ’14, is originally from San Francisco, California, and was raised by her maternal grandmother, father, and maternal aunt. Jessica earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in literature, French, and nonfiction writing. Jessica’s interest in social work came after she realized her love of helping those in need, including her interest in working with individuals and families in a clinical setting. Jessica is very happy that she was given the opportunity to attend New York University, and has been challenged in many ways through her work leading the Phi Alpha Honor Society - Pi Pi Chapter. Her work with the honor society allowed her to get to know many of her fellow students and bond with them during the volunteer events and the professional development events. Jessica hopes to pursue a career in a residential or outpatient treatment center that focuses on eating disorders, substance abuse, and trauma. After earning her clinical license, Jessica hopes to join Doctors without Borders and work with women and children in Sub Saharan Africa.

Emma Schubert, BS ‘14, has served on the Undergraduate Student Government Association since her first semester at NYU when she transferred in as a sophomore, and is so happy to have been able to serve as co-president this year. Emma has enjoyed the opportunity to be able to foster community within the undergraduate program. Emma's field placement is at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture where she works with clients from many countries who have survived torture and other human rights violations.


Silver Spirit Award

Beisi Huang, MSW ‘14, is currently the president of Chinese Student Support Group (CSSG) and international representative of Graduate Student Association (GSA). She is also the recipient of a 2014 NYU President’s Service Award. After having benefited as a member of CSSG at her first year, she took over the presidency this year, hoping to help more Chinese students at NYU Silver. She is glad that her dedication and devotion to the CSSG help the Chinese students in NYU Silver are able to better and faster adapt to the new environment and social work study as graduate students. She also has been a liaison between the Chinese student community and NYU Silver, which makes NYU Silver more resourceful and helpful to the international students from China.

Margaret M. Woods, MSW ’15, is the sixth generation of her family dedicated to service to others. It was through life experience and reflection upon her family member’s service to others in the fields of education, nursing, childcare and hospitality services that she sought out her niche in her family’s legacy of service and found social work. Being an alumna of NYU, (B.S., Stern), Silver School of Social Work fit perfectly into her new career plans. Since her arrival she has become active as Secretary of the Graduate Student Association, Mentor and Co-Founder of the Silver Foxes Mentoring Program, Student Leader for The Gerontology Student Collective, NYU America Reads and Counts Tutor, Silver Social Work Champion and a recipient of the Wasserman Internship Grant. Her passion to work in the field of Gerontology pays tribute to Evie, Beanie, Mamie, Isabell and Thelma, the women in her family, whose shoulders she stands upon as she continues to carry the baton of service to the next generation. She dedicates this award to her Nana, Isabell Anthony Robinson (1914-2010), who would have been 100 years old this year.


Outstanding Student Program Award

The Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) provides a forum for student participation in the educational program and offers a channel of communication between students, faculty, and administration. The USGA sponsors social activities, social work forums, and special events for undergraduates. The USGA is proud to accept this award on behalf of the organizers of the 2014 MLK Week event, “Impacting Social Change Through Courage.” This engaging school-wide event was led by guest speaker Anthony Nicotera whose expertise in social justice, peacemaking, and nonviolence served as a perfect fit for the event. As social workers, combatting social injustice and inequality is a huge part of our professional and ethical commitment. However, many individuals are not entirely sure how to effectively organize and educate the masses about social reform efforts, especially in a peaceful way. Nicotera discussed the role of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi, and Mother Theresa in peaceful social justice movements, and how they affected future movements.

Diane Greenstein Memorial Fellowship

So-Young Park is a doctoral candidate at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. She holds an MSW degree from Ewha Womans University, South Korea, and an MPH degree from Seoul National University, South Korea. She previously worked at a hospital as a medical social worker and was involved in a variety of research projects such as burn prevention, diabetes, oncology, child abuse, and health-related quality of life. She also served as an adjunct lecturer in South Korea. So-Young’s current research interests include depression, mental health utilization, chronic disease prevention, and other health disparities among ethnic minorities. Her dissertation research focuses on the longitudinal implications of contextual risk factors on depressive symptoms and suicide ideation among Asian Americans using the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health (ADD Health) data set across major developmental time periods using structural equation modeling (SEM). So-Young received the Okura Mental Health Scholarship for Asian and Pacific Islander Social Workers for her dissertation proposal.

Robert Moore Award for Excellence in Scholarship

Jennifer Smith’s, PhD ‘14, dissertation research explored the experiences of prospective adoptive parents who have attended an adoption match party and was supported by a grant from The New York Foundling Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection. She is currently developing best practice guidelines for organizations seeking to host match parties. As a licensed social worker, Jennifer serves as an adoption advocate and is employed part-time at a private practice specializing in neurofeedback. Jennifer has a passion for education and has taught numerous undergraduate and MSW courses as an adjunct faculty. 

Silver Citizenship Award

Jessica Champagne, MSW ‘14, has been able to pursue her interests in working with survivors of interpersonal trauma during her time at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. She has displayed a strong commitment in particular, to direct service, prevention education, and policy advocacy around issues of sexual violence. Jessica began her work in 2006 as an active member of the student group AWARE (Activist Women Advocating Rape Education), while earning her B.A. at Smith College. After graduating, Jessica became a certified Sexual Assault Advocate in Connecticut and was then hired full-time at a rape crisis center, providing direct services and prevention education to college students in the New Haven area. In addition, Jessica co-chaired the Connecticut College Consortium Against Sexual Assault, a coalition of stakeholders across the state, and in that role, authored legislative testimony for proposed bills in the State Senate. Since beginning the MSW program at NYU, Jessica has continued to dedicate her time to providing support to survivors of sexual violence. She is an advocate on the RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) online hotline, and has recently joined the Mt. Sinai SAVI program as an Emergency Department Advocate. In addition, her placement this year at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture has allowed her to gain clinical experience with survivors of sexual violence and other inter-personal traumas in a global context.

Adina Lichtman, BS ‘16, is studying social work with a minor in studio art. Born and raised in West Orange, New Jersey, Adina has served as the community service chair for Hillel in the Bronfman center for the last year in addition to working as an art teacher at a Hebrew school for students with special needs. Her proudest accomplishment thus far is her initiative "Knock Knock Give a Sock." Her initiative involves representatives on each floor of their apartment or dorm in NYC pledging to knock on every door of their floor and ask each door to donate just one pair of socks, the least donated article of clothing. This year Adina got over 150 floor reps signed up throughout NYC and collected over 3,000 pairs of socks!  

Ching-yee Maggie Ng, MSW ‘14, was born and raised in Hong Kong and immigrated to the United States in 2005. At a very early age she already knew what she wanted to be when she was older, a social worker. She interned at Chinatown Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community in her first year of MSW, where she mainly serves the Asian population. She pioneered her own group, Health Star, combining her creative art therapy talents to create an outlet for members came together to support each other through art and music making. Her project was recognized and awarded with the 2013 Outstanding POPS Project Award at NYU Silver. She also joined National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)-NJ to volunteer her time in the Chinese American Mental Health Outreach Program (CAMHOP) and participated in multiple outreach and social activities. Most recently, Maggie has been helping to plan and establish the first CAMHOP Peer Support Group. Maggie will continue to work on promoting mental health awareness not only for the Asian community, but for many communities in the world.

Global Social Work Award

Maria Militano, MSW ‘15, serves as the vice-president of the Graduate Student Association (GSA). Maria interned at an outpatient clinic for her first year, providing psychotherapy to a diverse population of recent immigrants. Last summer, she took a class on international poverty and food insecurity through Wagner’s school of Public Service and then remained in Ghana to travel, and met with members of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research to help develop their study abroad program. Currently, she is interning at the Unitarian Universalist, United Nations office, where she is the point person for Every Child Is Our Child. This program, in partnership with the Queen Mothers Association in Eastern Ghana, works to send children who have been orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS to school. Maria has a passion for global social work, both domestically and abroad. She is involved in the creative programming for her internship’s upcoming spring seminar on indigenous rights around the globe. She is a co-leader of the Student Collective for Global Social Work, which received a grant to host a conference on promoting human rights in conflict zones.

Brenda Punsky, MSW ‘14, is graduating from the intensive 16-month program at NYU Silver School of Social Work. A native of Mexico City, Brenda’s tremendous life-long passion for alleviating people’s suffering, for international social justice, and for learning, are reflected on her many academic achievements and vast professional experience. Brenda holds law degrees from both NYU School of Law and Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico), a mediation certificate from the New York Peace Institute, and has studied in Holland, Argentina and Washington D.C. Before joining the MSW program Brenda spent nine years trying to help people in need, doing global human rights and social justice work at agencies such as the Human Rights Commission for Mexico City, the Organization of American States (in D.C.), the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the International Center for Transitional Justice (both in NY). As an MSW student Brenda interned at Roberto Clemente Center and at Jewish Board of Family and Children Services, where she enjoyed providing therapy in both English and Spanish.

Social Justice Award

Maria Monica Andia, BS ‘14, is double majoring in Social Work and Social & Cultural Analysis, concentrating in Latino Studies. Andia is one of the founders of the DREAM Team @ NYU, a student organization that advocates for the educational rights of undocumented students. She is passionate about immigrant rights, anti-oppressive social work practice, community organizing, and social justice education.  

Outstanding POPS Project Award

Elssy Rosales, MSW ‘15, is a native New Yorker and enjoys serving the city that has taught her to value its thriving population. Prior to attending NYU, she taught at an early learning center that highly treasures the impact of nature and outdoor play on young children. It was her experience at this preschool that inspired her to create a positive playground during her placement at Positive Beginnings Preschool. This preschool serves low-income bilingual and monolingual special needs children and their families in Middle Village, Queens. She has raised $5,000 and is currently creating a developmentally appropriate outdoor playground that will support the children of Positive Beginnings, who display cognitive and physical delays. Their “Positive Playground” will be an oasis in which they can exercise their small and large motor muscles, garden and build communication skills; all of which are an extension of the occupational, physical and speech and language therapy students currently receive.

Kathleen Rose, MSW ‘15, is completing her fieldwork with Heights and Hills of Brooklyn which gives her the opportunity to provide individual therapy to clients in addition to co-leading a support group for caregivers. Through her work with people affected by Alzheimer's Disease, Kathleen was inspired to create a discussion panel focused on fostering the changing relationships between caregiver and care receiver, improving communication and decreasing caregiver stress. The panel provides a safe space for caregivers to receive answers and suggestions to common issues in Alzheimer’s Disease care giving. The program is also designed to foster a peer-mentoring relationship between panelists and attendees. Kathleen graduated from DePaul University in Chicago, IL in 2013. She was an active member of the Delta Zeta sorority, treasurer and vice president of Order of Omega honors society and a founding director of DePaul's record-breaking DemonTHON; which raised over $100,000 for Chicago’s Lurie Children's Hospital. These accomplishments have been an influence in both Kathleen’s academic and professional life, and has inspired her passion for advocacy and social work practice throughout her career.